How to Handle Being Busy

It seems as though every time I try to make plans with a friend, or find time to go home, I am bombarded with the response of “you’re always so busy.” Often times, I laugh in response and say, “no I’m not, it just sounds like it.” While technically, this is not true. I am a full-time student, I work part time, I have placement once a week, and I have extracurriculars galore. I also have my friends, my family, and my boyfriend which are all of priority to me as well. The thing is, I am busy, it just doesn’t feel this way! Over the course of my university career, I have learned to manage my time, work through stressful situations, and not get so worked up over simply being “busy”.

The first step in handling being busy, was to take the emotion out of the word. This sounds crazy, but it made a huge difference in how I worked my way through everyday life. I would often times find myself getting caught up in conversations with other students, which always seemed to end up as a competition of who had more on their plate. While this may be a part of typical student culture, I took a step back and realized how unhealthy it was. As I spoke to my colleagues, I could feel myself getting stressed out. My jaw would clench, my shoulders would tighten, and I couldn’t stop my mind from racing. Once I came to the realization of the emotion I was putting behind the word “busy”, I made a conscious effort to stop making it a part of my everyday conversations. I had to understand that being busy doesn’t make you any more respected, and there is nothing wrong with having nothing to contribute to the “I’m more stressed out” battle.

The next step of handling being busy was to take a step back and learn to not only prioritize, but to prioritize in chunks. If I listed every single thing I had to do in a month, or even a week, out loud, my heart would probably start racing on the spot. It is so easy to stand at the base of a mountain and think that there is no possible way to the top. I have learned to live by the quote, “every thousand-mile journey starts with one step” and learn to make my way through each day task by task, sometimes even hour by hour when I’m feeling especially stressed out. By doing so, I can strategically cross things off my to-do list, and feel more accomplished throughout my day. This being said, I also had to learn how to stop procrastinating. This step is still a work in progress, but I am definitely getting there, slowly but surely. By starting things a week or so before they need to be done, I feel more at ease, and am more thoughtful. I actually have time to enjoy the work that I am doing, rather than mindlessly racing just to get it done.

Finally, my last piece of advice in learning how to handle being busy is not being afraid to ask for help. In a perfect world, we would be able to set a start time, a deadline, and have no stress in between. Unfortunately, life happens, and curve balls can prevent us from achieving our original plans. At times like these, I have to remind myself that there is no shame in saying “I need help”. Even if you are not asking for anything, such as an extension, just letting someone know what’s going on in your life can make a world of a difference. You would be surprised how genuinely understanding people can be when you are just open and honest about the things you are facing.